Maghreb

“Change does not mean reform.”  F. Fanon (1961)

“Where there is power there is resistance.” M. Foucault (1976)

 

Michel and Frantz in Algeria, skies a species of red

like oranges perfuming porcine duck sharing a plate

with pulpy squash, speaking of particularities and

generalities, of Binswanger’s dasein agenda removed

from structuralism’s elemental lens.  One an acolyte of

Césaire, the other believing in himself, each yoked to

France, not to the same oppressions wrought by their

pais where skies might also be orange, but not in Kabyle

where moist air embraces silver altocumulus reflecting

sunlight. Their paradigms different but not opposed,  a

parallel aesthetics united by two doctrines of power at

multiple scales of manumission policed from Panopticons

specific and abstract, familial and civic, intimate and

unaffected, suspect and dominant like male hamadryas

herding their harems, all driven to madness by structures

stressed by iterations of lagging time (T) and wasting

energy (E).

 

Neocolonialism, a sign of progress America can be

proud of, no longer defined by slavery or civic war

white men convene in rooms redolent of wood and

wax, modeling futures for those afforded membership

plus interest, for those with surplus to invest in a Forever

Ring of new frontiers and endless possibilities, and

everything that happens is material for another reinvention.

Even suicide begets a new fiction for reading or for living

or for wearing, and progress is equivalent to curating

any landscape or border, including alien bodies or

nation-states across oceans or deserts or planets,

requiring only that America keep her facts straight or that

she preserve order by other means. For what is power but

class and type (surveillance of private spaces, interruption

of solitude, perturbation of boundaries) unless power turns

inward, evoking resistance to hegemony, like female fuscata

reversing their rank, aided by allies diagnosing marginal

contingencies where leverage is equivalent to force (F)

manifest when benefits prevail?

 

Phenomenology of madness feels gray as sky before

storming, not solid gray but penetrated by silver, black

and fading light like the time after harming a lover or

a child, breaking their hearts forever as Foucault broke

our hearts by dying in a way opposed to our translations

of his canon, coercion and surveillance, Gordian rules

governing contracts, hermeneutics imprecise as reality

routed through neurons, frontal cortex switching from

synapse to behavior, action patterns mapped like Drosophila‘s

grooming, algorithms expressed in numbers or other metrics

harboring their own syntax, quantities and characters,

topographies of circumstance like Hegel’s aesthetics, a

“reflective gaze of lived experience” as he gazed upon us

as his own amuse, detached and hiding from his acolytes—

students, psychologists, philosophers who, like historians or

like Binswanger, failed to detect his worship of the “unlivable,”

like Nietzsche’s claim that reality (Physics) and representation

(Perception) are indivisible, that black and white are the same

and ahistorical, a singular claim on phenomena removed from

Hegel’s logos, that interactions constitute a process rather than

a truth-claim. His color was gray, then. We gave Foucault

mercurial power to drive us, without certainty, into the coming

storm.

 

*

 

 

Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist, currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, Clara writes about the “performance” of identity and power, and her poems, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous venues. Clara studied with Adrienne Rich in the 1970s and has studied recently with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.

 

 

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